SUMMARY BACKGROUND (excerpted from Beyond Pesticides):
Risks. Risks from lawn-care pesticides include cancers, asthma, reproductive and endocrine problems, neurological diseases and learning disabilities. Children, pets, the elderly and individuals with compromised immune systems are particularly vulnerable.
Alternatives. Property values and beautiful lawns and landscapes can be maintained with cost-effective, non-toxic products (including weeding, if necessary)..
- Pesticides and herbicides that are harmful to humans and animals have been banned in the Province of Ontario, Canada and over 80% of cities in Canada. This ban includes 33.5 million Canadians (including 5.1 million people in greater Toronto). These laws are supported by the Canadian Cancer Society, Canadian Physicians for the Environment (CAPE), Ontario College of Family Physicians, the Learning Disabilities Association, Registered Nurses Association and others.
Read a Summary of the Ontario Pesticides Act
Read the full text of the Ontario Pesticides Act
- Risks from lawn-care pesticides include cancers, asthma, reproductive and endocrine problems, neurological diseases including learning disabilities, and Parkinson’s. Acute exposure can cause flu like symptoms, headache, fatigue, slow pulse, nausea, diarrhea and depression. Children, pets, the elderly and individuals with compromised immune systems are particularly vulnerable. The U.S. President’s cancer panel April 2010 identified environmental causes of cancer including pesticides.
Read more about the risks from these organizations and authorities in the field:
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)National Institute of Health (NIH) President’s Cancer Panel, Annual Report
Risks from Lawn Care Pesticides, Environment and Human Health, Inc. (EHHI) see pp 23-25
Dr. David Suzuki, Prof. Emeritus, University of British Columbia
City of Toronto
Pesticides-Induced Diseases Database, Beyond Pesticides
- In Canada, water quality in urban streams improved by 86% one year after the ban of certain lawn pesticides. Streams feed into our sources of drinking water and pesticides migrate into well water.
Read the report from the Environmental Monitoring and Reporting Branch, Ontario Ministry of Environment
- Beautiful lawns and landscaping can maintain property values without the use of hazardous pesticides. Healthy alternative products and cost effective practices are now available.
For more resources, see:
Beyond Pesticides Lawns and Landscapes Page
- Pesticides do not stay where placed and people are at risk from neighbors’ applications. People have a right to be protected from involuntary exposure to pesticides in the air, water and soil that inevitably result from chemical drift and contaminated runoff to our houses and our water supplies.Risks from Lawn Care Pesticides, Environment and Human Health, Inc.
- Arlington County recommends residents avoid or limit the use of fertilizers, pesticides, and herbicides, and that non-toxic alternatives be used whenever possible.
- Heatherlea, a homeowners’ Association in Arlington County uses pesticides on a routine schedule, regardless of need. Blanket application methods are used to apply the chemicals. The chemicals used are rated highly toxic on their labels and “toxic” by the Environmental Protection Agency.
- The Heatherlea Association has a history of failing to monitor the activities of their landscaping contractor, resulting in the illegal (misuse) use of pesticides on Heatherlea property.
- Heatherlea residents, both human and pets, have suffered symptoms from acute exposure to the lawn-care pesticides used at Heatherlea.
- At least three Heatherlea residents have disabling health conditions, including cancers. Exposures to environmental toxins are especially detrimental to their health. The involuntary exposures to lawn-care pesticides jeopardizes the lives of these individuals and robs them of the equal opportunity to use and enjoy their homes.
The finances of natural lawn care:
Along with the information on the township website, Malay said that if a homeowner association contacts town hall, “We would like to get you started on integrated pest management.” The Environmental Commission also remains available to any parties looking for assistance, Speeney said.
Just a few highlights of the results:
a) The grass has been green and lush, even in times of drought;
b) The lawn is fertilized with only compost top-dressings and sprays of compost tea, with only a single pound of organic nitrogen (alfalfa-based) fertilizer applied each year (per thousand square feet);
c) The limited weed pressure has been dealt with by spot spraying of Fiesta and other organic products, or by hand pulling;
d) The facility has SAVED MONEY on products and labor due to . . .
e) Vastly reduced mowing and watering, as well as elimination of all pesticides and chemical fertilizers.
“So, how does a homeowner who lives in a deed-restricted community but wants to transition to a more water-saving, sustainable landscape – even one that features, GASP, native plants — open a positive and civil dialogue with their HOA Board? Here are a few tips:” Grass-free and Deed-Restricted: An Impossible Dream?